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Moonstruck Chocolate Unveils New Look, Size for Tumbled Chocolates

Moonstruck Chocolate Co. introduces a new look for its Tumbled Chocolates collection, providing fans of these baubles with a more portable and practical pouch than previously available. The new 4-oz. stand-up pouch is re-sealable, making it easier than ever to snack on a handful now and save the rest for later without compromising freshness, aroma or flavor.

“We drew inspiration for our Tumbled Chocolate collection from the ancient Egyptian technique of panning ingredients, or slowly drizzling, rolling and tossing centers like fruit and nuts with chocolate,” explains Julian Rose, master chocolatier for Moonstruck. “The result is a bite of rich, layered chocolate followed by a beautiful burst of flavor and texture from a well-paired interior. With our new packaging, these pearls of decadence are easier than ever to enjoy on the go or in the comfort of home.”

Moonstruck’s Tumbled Chocolate collection offers premium Belgian milk and dark chocolate surrounding all-natural centers sourced locally whenever possible. Each batch is hand-tossed to perfection for a true artisan chocolate experience. The new pouches are ideal for a quick snack or treat, and the 4-oz. size is just the right amount for a taste of indulgence without overdoing it.  Moonstruck offers four varieties:

  •  Sea Salt Caramels Tumbled in Milk Chocolate: Moonstruck starts with its signature house-made sea salt caramels, cooked traditionally in copper kettles in small batches; the caramels are blended with Maldon Sea Salt for just the right amount of bite to offset the sweetness from the caramel and layers of creamy milk chocolate.
  • Caramelized Hazelnuts Tumbled in Milk Chocolate: Whole hazelnuts are caramelized in small batches in Moonstruck’s copper kettles; tumbled in creamy milk chocolate, these chocolates offers a satisfying crunch.
  • Blueberries Tumbled in Dark Chocolate: A taste of Oregon’s summer is encased in these baubles; whole dried Northwest blueberries are tossed with dark, decadent chocolate, balancing the rich cacao with tart, fresh flavor.
  • Beer Berries Tumbled in Dark Chocolate: Imported German malted wheat berries offer tiny nuggets of crunch and flavor, enhancing Moonstruck’s rich, dark chocolate with roasted notes and hints of fruit and malt.

Moonstruck’s Tumbled Chocolate collection is available online at www.moonstruckchocolate.com, at select retailers nationwide, at its St. John’s store and in its four Moonstruck Chocolate Cafés in Oregon. The 4-ounce packages are offered at a suggested retail price of $4.99 each.

Ezaki Glico Premiers New Pocky Flavor and New Péjoy Brand 

pockyEzaki Glico, maker of the Pocky brand of snack products introduces two new products in the candy and snack category. The new Pocky flavor is Pocky Matcha, the Green Tea version of Pocky. The Pocky Matcha joins the popular Pocky Chocolate and Pocky Strawberry.
Péjoy is a new brand under Glico. Péjoy is similar to Pocky, except that the stick is filled with chocolate inside the biscuit. These new products made their debut at the recent Sweets and Snacks trade show.
“In the U.S. snack market we are seeing an upswing in the popularity of snacks and sweets like the Pocky products,” said Shunsuke Nakai, President of Glico USA. “From the packaging to the delicious taste, Pocky and Péjoy are fun to share with others. Take to the beach, the mall, or walking around the city – there’s plenty of sticks in the box to delight your friends.”
The green tea Pocky flavor, Pocky Matcha, is becoming popular for its green tea properties. It is a healthier alternative to a sweet snack, containing the right amount of Ujinotsuyu Matcha for flavor and health benefits.
pejoyPéjoy is a new brand of snack products made by Glico. It is like a Pocky turned inside out, so that the filling is on the inside instead of the outside of the biscuit. The Chocolate Péjoy has a rich malt chocolate filling inside the crispy cookie biscuit shell.
Both products are packaged to easily share with friends and to take on-the-go. The top of the box can be opened to display them or to reach in to grab one.
Ezaki Glico U.S.A. corporate offices are in Irvine, Calif. The company adheres to the Glico philosophy “A Wholesome Life in the Best of Taste.”

Jeff Binder Named as VP of Center Store for Kings Food Markets

Kings Food Markets has hired retail merchandising expert Jeff Binder as the Vice President of Center Store. Binder will be responsible for overseeing the grocery, dairy and frozen food departments as well as the non-food and beauty departments. He will report directly to Chief Operating Officer Rich Durante.

“We are very excited to have Jeff join our team,” said Judy Spires, President and CEO of Kings Food Markets. “Kings is already known for its rare finds, but Jeff will help us build on that reputation, expanding our assortment of high quality products throughout the center of the store. He will help us continue to evolve our unique, curated experience for our customers, ensuring they are inspired each time they set foot through our doors and down our aisles.”

Kings guyWith more than 20 years of leadership in the retail industry, Binder has extensive experience building premium brands. Prior to joining Kings, Binder was Vice President/Divisional Merchandise Manager for Bloomingdales and was responsible for helping to introduce and grow distinctive brands for Bloomingdales. Earlier in his career, Binder was with Hechts (now Macy’s) and held various roles including Divisional Merchandise Manager. Binder received his Bachelors of Science in marketing from the University of Maryland and currently resides in Warren, N.J. with his wife Sherrie and their two children.

Pata Negra to Introduce Imperial White Chorizo at Fancy Food Show

ImperialPata Negra LLC will offer a taste of chorizo as it was made during an era in Spain before red peppers arrived from the new world in the 16th century. This Imperial Vela Blanco chorizo is dry-cured and features a gourmet mixture of premium American pork meat, garlic and other hand-selected spices. Because the chorizo is made without paprika, it features a milder taste and cooler color than the more common, crimson red chorizos – like Imperial’s Vela Mild and Vela Hot. 
“We want to bring chorizo making in all its authenticity to the United States,” says General Manager of Pata Negra LLC, Ignacio Saez de Ibarra. “Our most recent creation takes chorizo making back to a time before paprika was available in Spain, producing a dry cured sausage that lends a milder taste for charcuterie enthusiasts everywhere. ”

The Imperial line is carefully crafted under the guidance of master chorizo-maker Dr. Antonio Libran, a veterinarian expert with more than 30 years of experience in the food and Spanish cured meats industries. The team sources premium American pork meat, the world’s best Spanish paprika and only the finest hand-selected spices. Each features a lengthy, dry-curing process to ensure all natural ingredients season slowly to lend each chub the authentic flair and flavor of old Spain. This Spanish artisan technique produces a signature bouquet and texture not found in mass-produced chorizo varieties, both domestic and imported.

imperial-chorizoThe Imperial brand was introduced in 2013 and is crafted by a group of Spanish entrepreneurs who came to the United States to produce authentic, dry-cured chorizo that with each bite exudes the flair and flavor of old Spain.
Visit Pata Negra in booth #2320 during the Summer Fancy Food Show.

Economic Development Grant Helps Re-open Rural Wisconsin Grocery

The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) has awarded a $250,000 grant to Florence County to help re-open a grocery store that has been vacant for more than seven years.

The lack of a full-service grocery store has been an impediment to economic development in the county and has been an issue in recruiting potential employees, state and county officials say. It also has resulted in half of the county being declared a “food desert” by the federal government.

After several years of trying to fill the vacant Haberkorn’s grocery store, Pat’s Foods, an Upper Peninsula grocery chain agreed to take over the building and open a new store. The county in March created a Tax Incremental Financing (TIF) District to help fund the project, and the WEDC grant provided the final piece of the necessary funding.

The new grocery store, a $1.2 million project, is expected to open in June.

“Not only does this project fill a critical need for the residents of Florence County, but it has a significant economic impact as well,” said Lieutenant Governor Rebecca Kleefisch, who visited Florence to announce the state grant. “The new store will create about 20 new jobs, and it establishes a downtown anchor that could lead to additional retail growth.”

The state funding is part of WEDC’s Community Development Investment Grant Program, which supports community development and redevelopment efforts—primarily in downtown areas—throughout the state.

“We are pleased to play a key role to bringing a much-needed resource to Florence County,” said Reed Hall, secretary and CEO of WEDC, who joined Kleefisch in making the announcement. “Our Community Development Investment Grant Program is helping communities and counties all over the state with projects like this that will provide a shot in the arm to the local economy.”

State and county officials say the project is a prime example of how public and private entities can work together on initiatives that provide a significant benefit to the community.

“Economic development and job creation doesn’t happen in Madison,” Hall said. “And it can’t happen without strong partnerships like this one. The state, the county and private business worked hand in hand to make this happen.”

“Having a full-service grocery store open again is an important step for Florence County,” said County Chairperson Jeanette Bomberg. “It will help boost our economy. It will create jobs, improve our internal and external image, increase the tax base and help spur new retail growth. But more importantly we will have fresh fruits and meats to purchase locally.”

“The Wisconsin Economic Development Corporation and the state of Wisconsin sent a message that rural counties do matter—and for that we are so grateful,” she added.

Ben Campioni, owner of Pat’s Foods, said the company had been considering reopening the store in Florence for the last five years, but financially the project was not feasible until the state grant became available. Campioni also owns and operates grocery stores under the Pat’s Foods name in the Upper Peninsula communities of Houghton, Hancock, Calumet, Ontonagon, and L’Anse.

“We will strive to be an asset to Florence and the surrounding area by providing products and services needed by the residents and seasonal visitors,” Campioni said. “We take part in the communities we serve by giving back to the towns and local charities generously, and we base our business around being “hometown proud.’”

The new grocery store is the latest example of the increased economic development taking place in Florence County.

A new Family Dollar Store is being planned in downtown Florence for late 2014, and Florence Hardwoods LLC is in the middle of an expansion project in the industrial park. All three of these new projects are benefiting from the county’s newly created TIF District.

Irwindale Lays Down Arms Against Sriracha Maker

The city of Irwindale, Calif. has apparently made peace with the manufacturer of Huy Fong Foods Sriracha Sauce and withdrawn its nuisance complaint and lawsuit after a meeting with the company’s owner and representatives of the state’s economic development office. The Associated Press reports that Huy Fong Foods Owner David Tran has promised to take action to improve the plant’s air filtration system if the offensive odors that gave rise to complaints from local residents recur during next year’s production season. Texas had sent a delegation of lawmakers to California to let Tran know that if Irwindale wasn’t happy about Huy Fong Foods’ presence in their city, Texas would be happy to accommodate the plant.

Local Children Featured in New Meijer Commercial

Midwest retailer Meijer is debuting a new commercial featuring photos of local children riding its iconic penny pony, Sandy. The 30-second commercial will begin airing within the retailer’s five-state footprint – MichiganIndianaIllinoisOhio and Kentucky – in June and a 60-second version of the commercial is online now. Meijer shoppers can also watch the ad on TV walls in the store’s electronics department.

MeijerMeijer selected 28 photos for the TV spot from more than 3,200 submitted during the Star with Sandy photo contest hosted on its Facebook page earlier this year. Four additional youngsters were chosen for the 60-second version. For a list of individuals featured in the commercial please visit the Meijer newsroom and view the finalists’ photo submissions here.

“Ever since Meijer first opened its doors in 1934, we’ve been a family store – family-owned and dedicated to providing families with the best shopping experience possible,” said Nicole Laughlin, Vice President of Brand Development for Meijer. “For decades, a ride on Sandy has been a very important part of that Meijer experience for millions of families. That’s something we’re incredibly proud of.”

For many families, Sandy is the highlight of their routine shopping trips and a reward for their children’s good behavior. Amanda Stark, of Grand Rapids, Mich., was thrilled to learn her 2-year-old son, Braevin, would appear in the commercial.

“At least once a month when we go grocery shopping it’s a good incentive for Braevin. I tell him that if he’s good that he will be able to ride Sandy,” Stark said. “I’m just so proud of him that he won.”

Meijer2Sandy, the iconic mechanical pony, debuted at the opening of Thrifty Acres in 1962. The late Fred Meijer was inspired by a supermarket in Nebraska that offered 10-cent pony rides, but wanted to provide a more reasonable option. The price of one penny per ride has since become symbolic of the affordable shopping experience at Meijer.

Meijer girlMy dad believed in making things affordable for our customers and that included Sandy,” Meijer Co-Chairman Hank Meijer said. “Riding Sandy is a memory shared by so many children and parents who shop at our stores. But the real magic happens when those children grow up and bring their own kids back for a ride.”

Sandy has been a fixture at the front of all Meijer stores across the Midwest for decades, and is often the last thing a child remembers on the way out of the store and a source of joy for shoppers of all ages.

“I’ve been shopping at Meijer for years. It’s a family tradition,” said Sheri Miller, of Shipshewana, Ind. Her 6-year-old daughter, Katie, will co-star in the commercial. “Katie never leaves without riding Sandy. It’s her favorite part of the store.”

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Announces June 25 as Grand Opening Date for Deerfield, Ill. Store Location

Fresh Thyme Farmers Market, a new specialty grocer featuring healthy and organic value-priced offerings, is excited to announce the grand opening for Illinois’s second store location in Deerfield on Wednesday, June 25, 2014 at 7 a.m. The Deerfield Chamber of Commerce and Mayor Harriet Rosenthal will be on site for the ribbon cutting at 9 a.m.

“We look forward to opening Illinois’s second Fresh Thyme store in Deerfield,” CEO Chris Sherrell stated. “The grand opening event will be an exciting day to shop, try our different products, and participate in activities throughout the day.”

The first 250 shoppers on grand opening day will receive a limited edition custom Deerfield Fresh Thyme reusable bag filled with more than $50 of healthy groceries. Grand opening day will feature events for the entire family, including food sampling, live entertainment and giveaways. Additional events are scheduled to continue throughout the week.

“Fresh Thyme’s goal is to provide our local communities with fresh, natural products at a great value,” Sherrell said. “We also strive to build solid relationships within each community we call home and look forward to the opportunity to do so in Deerfield.”

Fresh Thyme has already hired many local community residents for managerial and hourly positions. There are still numerous full and part-time employment opportunities available at the Deerfield Fresh Thyme store. Anyone interested may apply online at www.freshthyme.com.

Kretschmar Announces Super-Premium ‘Master’s Cut’ Deli Meat Line

Kretschmar® Premium Deli Meats & Cheeses has just launched Kretschmar Master’s Cut, a line of super-premium bulk deli items. The line features unique flavors of turkey, ham and chicken that use the highest quality, cleanest ingredients. It is available at deli counters across the country.

Kretschmar Master’s Cut Deli Meats feature sweet, smoky, savory and robust flavors, which were inspired by consumer culinary trends.  Flavors include Sweet Smoked Ham, Black Pepper & Jalapeno Ham, Sweet Molasses Ham, Mesquite & Bourbon Turkey Breast, Santa Fe Turkey Breast, Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Breast, Cajun Style Turkey Breast, Pastrami Seasoned Turkey Breast and Chipotle Barbeque Chicken.  All products are gluten free, and contain no added MSG, added nitrites or nitrates or added hormones. Each product also meets criteria for a heart-healthy food, as certified by the American Heart Association.

“We are extremely excited about the launch of Kretschmar Master’s Cut,” said Michael Sargent, brand manager for Kretschmar. “Its unique flavors and unparalleled quality have raised the bar for premium deli meats.”

For the product launch, Kretschmar enlisted Certified Master Chef Brian Beland as a brand ambassador. Chef Beland received his Certified Master Chef accreditation from the American Culinary Federation in 2010 following an eight-day cooking exam at the Culinary Institute of AmericaHyde Park, N.Y. He is currently the Executive Chef and Director of Food and Beverage at the Country Club of Detroit and is also a Chef Instructor at Schoolcraft College in Michigan.

As a brand ambassador, Chef Beland created five original recipes using Kretschmar Master’s Cut and will make appearances on behalf of Kretschmar throughout 2014 at trade shows, public relations events, and consumer events. Additionally, Kretschmar will execute a sweepstakes in which consumers can enter for a chance to win a trip for two to The Culinary Institute of Americain Napa Valley where Chef Beland will give them a personal cooking tutorial.

“I’m thrilled to share with everyone Kretschmar’s newest product line, Master’s Cut,” said Certified Master Chef Brian Beland. “Its wide array of flavors and quality ingredients provide tons of possibilities in the kitchen.  I’ve really enjoyed cooking with the meats and developing new recipes for Kretschmar. I know that consumers will appreciate its versatility and top-notch taste in their recipes as well.”

For more information on Kretschmar Master’s Cut, Chef Brian Beland, or to view new Kretschmar Master’s Cut recipes, log onto www.kretschmardeli.com and find the company on Facebook at Facebook.com/Kretschmardeli.

Sylvain Toutant Named CEO of DAVIDsTEA

Sylvain Toutant has been named president and chief executive officer of DAVIDsTEA. He will be responsible for all operations at DAVIDsTEA and will oversee the company’s growth in Canadathe United States and around the world. He will also serve on the board of directors.

A recognized specialist in retailing, Toutant has developed businesses in Canadathe United States and Europe.  After joining VanHoutte in 2008, he became President of Retail and subsequently, Chief Operating Officer. Since 2012 and until recently, he was President of Keurig Canada, where he accelerated growth through a strategic alliance with Keurig Green Mountain in the United States. He also headed Keurig’s operations in the United Kingdom.

During the course of his career, Toutant has been at the helm of a number of well-known brands in renovation, and alcoholic and other beverages. Employed by Reno-Depot from 1987 to 2003, he became its President in 2001 and helped make it one of Quebec’s most admired companies.  He also served as President and CEO of the Société des alcools du Québec [Quebec’sliquor board] from 2004 to 2007.

“Sylvain’s vast knowledge of the beverage sector, combined with his expertise in consumer behaviour, makes him one of the best managers in the industry,” said Pierre Michaud, Chairman of the company’s board of directors.  “In addition, his proven ability to generate organizational growth will be extremely valuable to us.”

Herschel Segal, DAVIDsTEA Co-founder and majority shareholder, said he is very pleased with Toutant’s decision to join the company. “We founded David’s Tea in 2008, and since then the business has grown continuously. We now find ourselves at an important time in our development, and I’m convinced Mr. Toutant will be an extraordinary asset for us as head of our business.”

“Tea is the second most popular beverage on the planet, just after water,” said Segal. “There is incredible potential for growth, and we intend to play a leading role in this market.”

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